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Old 03-03-2007, 11:25 PM   #1
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Post 2007 Ford Focus ZX4 SE

2007 Ford Focus SE ZX4

+ Good FE
+ Responsive Handling and Good Road Feel
+ Affordable

- Terrible Build-Quality
- Desperately Needs a Re-Design
- A/C Mold and Musty Aroma

Introduction: The Ford Focus is the evolution of some solid Ford Economy Cars. Starting with the Tempo in the 80's, affordable, simple transportation could be bought on a budget, and easily maintained. With more room and feature content than the Escort, it had good sales figures along with its Mercury twin, the Topaz. Then, the "World Car" philosophy began with Ford Europe's adaptation into the Contour/Mystique lineup, which essentially replaced the Tempo as the second step up. As the 4-door Escort was phased-out, followed by the ZX2, an overlapping new European model was born in 2000: the Focus. With no other sub-compact in the pipeline, the Focus had, and still remains, Ford's entry-level, economy car.

Over its many years in current form (currently 7), we've seen it as a Sedan, 3- and 5-door hatch, and even a hot SVT variant. But its debut was quite
flawed. A staggering number of recalls were issued for the U.S. model, even though it had been manufactured in Europe for quite some time. A good friend of mine bought a ZTS Sedan in 2000, and had it has been in the shop around 10 times since for recalls and problems. When it runs regularly, it seems to get FE in the 30s and is a fun, practical vehicle.

So, now Ford has sat on it for a long time, only freshening the interior and tweaking the exterior slightly. The current, European Focus actually rides on the Volvo S40 / Mazda 3 platform and is a hit in the UK.


Other World Ford Options: The 2007 Focus Saloon (4-Door)

Neither has this exciting newer model been made available here, nor its thrify powerplants. So, here we are with a fleet-grade econobox that desperately needs a re-design. Even the 2.0L Zetec engine is a carry-over from the Contour.

On the Outside: The same, familiar, tall-box shape that the focus has always had. Newer models have a more conservative headlight and taillight assembly.


...consequently, the U.S. Ford Focus Sedan

On the inside: You'll find things that first-time new car buyers look for: a CD/MP3 stereo, seat height adjustment, tilt/telescoping wheel, cruise, A/C, and a basic, no-nonsense dash and gauge cluster. One power-point, however, is located squarely in the middle of the dash on the driver's side -- which is a very inconvenient location. Rear-seat passengers are a bit cramped. The trunk is adequate.



During the 4-hour return leg, a storm front had began to pass through the region. As the temperatures and relative humidity rose, I decided to turn on the A/C for a bit to freshen the stale air in the cabin (at speeds of 75, opening a window wasn't really an efficient option, nor effective). The system blew cold air and worked well. The problem began when I shut it off. After about 2-minutes of using the vent-only, holy guacamole! What's that smell! I thought I was passing by a rubber factory or something, but the musty stench of wet plastic filled the cabin. I tried everything: rolled the windows down, turned the heat to the full-hot position, everything in an attempt to dry this attack of mold. Trying just about every position on the HVAC dial, attempting repeatedly to let it dry, etc., the only solution was to continue to run the A/C until I turned it in. Since I'm allergic to mold, my face started to itch and turn red, and today (one day later) I feel like my sinuses have been microwaved and I'm exhausted. A classic delayed allergic reaction that I have to mold. What the heck was going on in there? It wasn't like a locker-room or moldy-basement smell, but more industrial. I've never -- EVER -- had a car do this (in older cars, I've had a slight musty smell from the vents, but nothing serious). I don't know to blame it on the design or perhaps it was recovered from the bottom of a river and placed into rental service. Be warned!

The drive: Despite the rest of the car being drab, the drive is actually quite spirited. The suspension is well-placed, allowing nimble handling and
excellent feedback through the tight steering. The ride is smooth for a compact, absorbing bumps with ease and tracking well on cross-windy highways. The engine accelerates with ease yet provides some pretty good FE numbers. Full throttle run-ups produce exciting sounds from under the hood, and in-town driving is pleasant with good torque and automatic gear change.

Safety: Standard Airbags, ABS is optional; no stability control or curtain airbags available. Safer cars are available in this class/price.

Efficiency: Well, this is Ford's most efficient offering. It's too bad we don't have the Ford Fiesta here, as they do in the UK. Having driven one on the roads of Scotland, the little 1.4L, Ghia-trimmed, 5-speed averaged well-over 40 mpg-U.S.


RH77 in the Driver's Seat. The Fiesta proved to have good utility and FE in 2005, even for the well-equipped, 1.4L Ghia model.

But, still today we get the Focus PZEV in the 'States, which produces fewer emissions than the standard model.


From the 2007 L.A. Auto Show: Focus PZEV.

Ford really needs to position itself with a youth-based market lineup like Toyota's Scion or offer smaller cars. It's relying too heavily on F-150 and Explorer sales.

Conclusion: Whatever. It was fuel-efficient and handled well.

Raw Data:

Model: 2007 Ford Focus
Class Size: Compact
Trim: ZX4 SE
Transmission: 4-Speed Automatic with LUTC
Engine: DOHC, 16-valve, 2.0L Inline-4 cylinder, rated at 136 HP and 136 lb-ft torque
Drivetrain: FWD
Curb Weight: 2636 lb.
EPA (Old Estimate Calcs): 27/34/29
GasSavers Tested Mileage: 32.8 MPG (ScanGauge Verified)
Fuel Consumed: 15.7 gallons
Speed Avg: 65 MPH
Time of Operation: 7.9 hours
Distance Driven: 517 Miles
Ambient Outside Temp: 35-70F
FE Conclusion: The FE actually would have been higher if I wasn't fighting 20-30+ MPH winds for both legs of the trip. I actually had a tail-wind of 25
gusting to 40 on parts of the return trip. That evening we had a strong front move through, complete with hail, heavy rain, strong in-line winds, and tornadoes. Anyway, the EPA averages seem accurate.Nevertheless, the Focus seems to be pretty efficient, but honestly, there are less expensive, safer, more reliable options available in the same FE/Size range and no mold!

For the Hypermiler: The 5-speed hatch might work. I wouldn't get too excited about it.

RH77
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Old 03-04-2007, 08:38 AM   #2
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The mazda 3 which shares the drivetrain with the focus is a much cooler car IMO.
I agree ford needs to do something about there small cars, they need more of them and something with a little pizzaz.
Ford makes what? 2 cars that can get over 30mpg? I don't know how they meet there CAFE.
I know a few focus owners, they average 31-33 highway mpg and less in the city. however those engines seem to hold up really well.
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Old 03-04-2007, 11:53 AM   #3
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ELF -

Quote:
Originally Posted by ELF View Post
The mazda 3 which shares the drivetrain with the focus is a much cooler car IMO.
I agree ford needs to do something about there small cars, they need more of them and something with a little pizzaz.
Ford makes what? 2 cars that can get over 30mpg? I don't know how they meet there CAFE.
I know a few focus owners, they average 31-33 highway mpg and less in the city. however those engines seem to hold up really well.
I am against the Focus for aesthetic reasons. When it first came out the nose was more dynamic. I liked the design. Then they blunted the nose and made it more "normal". Stupid stupid stupid milquetoast compromise. The other problem with the Focus has been it's quality record, aka tons of recalls.

Overall I like the design because of it's European heritage, but never enough to put it in my serious consideration list.

I would like to see a Focus here, though. It would really neat to see what it can do with a GasSaver in the driver's seat.

CarloSW2
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Old 03-04-2007, 01:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ELF View Post
The mazda 3 which shares the drivetrain with the focus is a much cooler car IMO.
I drove the "3" and "6" both when they came out. The 3 especially was incredible. Handling, FE, and the interior was top-notch. The 2.3L is available with leather, but not the 2-litre. Bummer. But anyways, the packages are funky -- if you wanted ABS you had a get a sunroof and crazy stuff like that.

Carlos- I agree. The original focus looked great. Then they just waved their "blah" wand and poof: bland styling inside and out.

RH77
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Old 03-04-2007, 01:37 PM   #5
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The Ford Focus was a neat-looking car in 2000, but it's pretty boring after 7 years. Why buy a new Ford Focus when you can get a used one that looks pretty much the same and costs way less?

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Old 06-20-2007, 04:55 PM   #6
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wrecked
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Old 06-20-2007, 05:08 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cfg83 View Post
ELF -



I am against the Focus for aesthetic reasons. When it first came out the nose was more dynamic. I liked the design. Then they blunted the nose and made it more "normal". Stupid stupid stupid milquetoast compromise. The other problem with the Focus has been it's quality record, aka tons of recalls.

Overall I like the design because of it's European heritage, but never enough to put it in my serious consideration list.

I would like to see a Focus here, though. It would really neat to see what it can do with a GasSaver in the driver's seat.

CarloSW2
On the 'schnaz' - The blunted nose was Ford's answer in search of a question in responce to complaints of not being able to see the front end while parking . Odd thing about it ...I still can't see the front while parking ...great fix from Ford !
The quality record check the NHTSA's site , you'll see some pretty *quality* marks getting in deep with some pretty hefty recalls . Yes Toyota , Honda , M-B along with all of the others ...not one without a black mark iirc .
Too bad you didn't check one out - the '08's are going hatchless along with a full even more milquetoast design and I believe a 5 cyl Volvo engine option ( one saving grace in my eyes - not that the current offerings are bad )
Starting to look like there are a few Foci in tha howsss! Let's get some mpg's!
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Old 06-20-2007, 07:04 PM   #8
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I'll just say that after taking an 1800 mile round trip to Las Vegas, we were impressed with a car that could get over 30 mpg at over 100 mph.
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Old 06-20-2007, 07:12 PM   #9
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Hahaha almost to the speed limiter ! only 8 left before it hits the wall ...whatta trip!!
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Old 06-20-2007, 07:39 PM   #10
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not bad not at all
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